UK Students Own £8.6 Billion Worth of Sellable Items

Untapped value of student possesions revealed by eBay 


  New research by online marketplace eBay shows that the average UK university student has over £6,045 worth of sellable posessions including 36 pieces of tech, 61 items of clothing and 35 houshold items.

With education fees on the political manifesto again,  students are becoming more money savvy, but as the summer term ends and students prepare to decamp back home, eBay’s research shows that three quarters are not taking advantage of the untapped value of their unwanted items – across the UK that’s £8.46 billion* worth of sellable goods, or 3,000 pints for every undergraduate.

Only two fifths (39%) of those surveyed plan to raise some income by selling their unwanted items online.  The majority will store the items (71%), however 39% admit to simply binning the stuff they no longer want.

Students’ tech inventory is particuarly valuable with those surveyed owning an average of 36 different items of technology with a total resale value of £1,928**.This includes, on average, two laptops, two smartphones, three pairs of headphones, a radio and multiple DVD’s.

Clothes also add significantly to the inventory with students owning an average of over 61 items of clothing and footwear at a value of £1,160.  Men fall behind the women with an average of 44 items compared to women’s 70 items.

Students at Birmingham University have the highest value of items at £6,991 but only 36% plan to take advantage of this and sell it online. Cambridge and Oxford University students are at the bottom of the list with average values at £3,851 and £4,708 respectively.

Will Weightman, director of consumer to consumer at eBay comments, “Students are under more financial pressure than ever before, so it’s surprising that more are not realising the value of their unwanted possessions.  Selling on eBay is a great way make the most of unwanted items and with 18 million Brits shopping on the site every month, students could really take advantage of this untapped source of income. 58% of those surveyed are even giving away unwanted items, instead why not sell them with eBay, make some money and fund a great summer holiday.”

It’s not only students who have the opportunity to realise the value of their unwanted items.  eBay research reveals that since 2012, the overall national value of unused items has increased by 53%.   Unwanted technology is particularly valueable with popular items such as laptops, games consoles, digital cameras and TV’s increasing by an average of 77%. ***


University ranking:


Average value to items

  1. Birmingham University


  1. Exeter University


  1. Lancaster University


  1. Southampton University


  1. Durham University


  1. Warwick


  1. University College London


  1. Edinburgh University


  1. Oxford University


  1. Cambridge University




Top five tips for students selling on eBay:

  1. Its free to list on eBay - with 20 free listings every month, savvy sellers make sure they take advantage of their monthly allowance
  2. List on mobile and see how easy it is – using the eBay mobile app is a quick and easy way to list, and enables you to keep track of your listings on-the-go.
  3. Make your listing the best you can with great titles & descriptions – Accurately describe the condition, size, and quality of the item to provide potential buyers with all the information they need to make a purchase. Make a clear, compelling first impression by writing a great title for your item and using descriptive keywords such as brand, size and colour. Add multiple good quality photos to your listing to help you increase sales and give your buyers a more accurate idea of what to expect.
  4. Price it right – Items can be listed as an auction or a fixed price. In addition to following eBay pricing recommendations, you can also search completed eBay listings and look at other similar items to help you choose a starting price for fixed price or auction-style listing. Auction listings are great if you're unsure of the value of your item or you have unique and hard-to-find items that could attract demand and spur a bidding way.
  5. Build your reputation - Describe the item accurately, reply to questions promptly and try to dispatch within 48 hours. Establishing and maintaining buyer satisfaction helps you build a solid reputation as a trustworthy seller on eBay and ultimately helps drive your sales activity.



- ENDS -


Launch PR

Yasmin Khostovan and Chris Hawes – 020 7758 3900 or


About eBay

eBay delivers one of the world’s largest online marketplaces to customers via any connected device, connecting people with the things they need and love.  Founded in 1995 and opening in the UK in 1999, eBay has more than 18 million unique visitors per a month in the UK and Ireland. Around 70% of listings are for new, fixed-price items and the UK site is home to more than 100 high street brands and retailers. 



The research was conducted by TNS Omnibus between 24th and 30th March 2015 with 1,000 undergraduate students at 10 selected universities from the UK’s top 20 (100 at each university surveyed).

*Based on current undergraduate student population of 1.4 million

**Resale value based on eBay average selling price April 2015

***Based on two research studies by TNS Omnibus.  The first in April 2012 and the second in March 2015.